DUI and Prescription Drugs

You don’t have to be drunk or on illegal drugs to be charged with a DUI. Believe it or not, driving under the influence of perfectly legal drugs is still driving under the influence of drugs. When it comes to substances, the dose makes the poison, no matter what substance is involved.

When taken in great quantities, legal drugs become illegal. And driving under the influence of painkillers, cough medicine, or other medicines is just as illegal as driving under the influence of any narcotic you’d care to name. If you take over-the-counter medications, you need to be aware of those medications’ effects on your mind. Do not drive your car if you are under the influence of any kind of drug.

Driving Under the Influence of Legal Drugs is Dangerous

When you drive under the influence of drugs—prescription, over the counter, or otherwise—you threaten the lives of everyone on the road: your life, your passengers’ lives, and the lives of every other driver and passenger on the road. This behavior is reckless, selfish, embarrassing, and deranged. You are placing your base pleasures above the lives of hundreds of innocent people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 18% of motor vehicle deaths involve drugs other than alcohol. This statistic does not make a distinction between legal and illegal drugs. That’s because there is no distinction between legal and illegal drugs when the legal drugs are used in excess.

When you’re drugged, your mind is incapacitated. Drugs warp your perception of reality, and reality includes the road. If you can’t interpret traffic properly, you can’t drive.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that excessive use of cough syrup “acts on the same cell receptors as dissociative hallucinogenic drugs like PCP or ketamine.” You wouldn’t drive on PCP, would you? Don’t drive under the influence of cough syrup.

DUI of Legal Drugs is Still Illegal

If the danger of driving under of influence of legal drugs isn’t enough to keep you from hitting the roads, maybe the legal repercussions will.

The police have a duty to protect the public and keep the roads safe. As part of this duty, the police will arrest you if they catch you driving under the influence of any kind of drugs, legal or not. There’s a basic DUI law in the same way that there is a basic speed law; if you are too doped up to drive safely, you’re breaking the law. It’s not a matter of specific levels of chemicals in your blood.

According to Andrade Law Offices, “anyone who drives a vehicle while impaired by any substance can be arrested and charged with a DUI.” They also point out that the law does not discriminate for social class. A doctor who heads out to the highway doped up on prescription medications is no better than the street tough who amps himself up on methamphetamines and hurls his truck into a restaurant patio. Reckless driving as the result of chemical abuse is reckless driving as the result of chemical abuse. No one has an excuse.    

Care Packages for the Homeless

As the holidays roll around, many of us are inspired to give more than any other time of the year, especially when considering care packages for the homeless. A group of individuals that benefit from giving year round is the homeless population. Homelessness can happen at any time and maybe you have experienced it yourself. Homelessness affects men, women, and children. It affects the young, the old, the healthy, the unwell. Not every homeless individual has a drug and alcohol problem or a mental health issue. Never judge someone who doesn’t have a home, try to understand their stories.


According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, there are over 500,000 people experiencing homelessness on any given night across the U.S. and approximately 15% of the homeless population are considered “chronically homeless” while about 9% of the homeless population are veterans.


Homelessness is a huge issue in the United States and many people want to help, but don’t know what to do. Creating and distributing care packages are a great way to offer a helping hand to an individual who doesn’t have a permanent residence. There are many checklists for care packages on the internet, but it’s always a good idea to make packages that are useful. While all care packages are well-intentioned, some items are better than others.

Suggestions for Care Packages


When you create a care package, think about the essentials and what will be long lasting and most portable.


  • Socks: Many homeless individuals, without a car, spend a great amount of time walking to and from appointments. A fresh pair of socks can do wonders on tired feet. Band-aids or blister pads are also helpful.


  • Food: While some individuals have the opportunity for at least one hot meal from a meal center, many need high protein, quick and easy snacks to eat throughout the day. Steer clear of sticky, hard, or overly sweet foods (like candy) that can put strain on teeth. For many, regular dental care is not an option. Applesauce, pudding, trail mix, beef jerky, and instant soup cups are a better idea.


  • Toiletries: While a bar of soap can go a long way, it can ruin a bag full of food. If an individual has a chance to shower, it’s highly likely that soap is already available. A better option would be baby or cleansing wipes. Other helpful toiletries include a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a comb, unscented lotion. Avoid mouthwash, hand sanitizer, or any products that contain alcohol.


Some Extras


You may tempted to give money, but it’s difficult to know how helpful it will really be. Instead, offer a gift card to a coffeeshop or a sandwich shop. Travel mugs, hand/foot warmers, and extra cold weather clothing could also be helpful.


When you distribute your care package, take the time to talk to the individual, learn his or her story. Many homeless individuals are not “beggars”. While your contribution will most likely be appreciated, keep in mind that it is also difficult to accept help. Have a nice simple conversation with your recipient, you may find that you have a lot in common.

3 Diseases We No Longer Have to Worry About Thanks to Vaccines

The vaccine is a modern miracle. First discovered in 1796 by Edward Jenner, this disease fighting technique is the product of hard science, thorough testing, and a long communications battle. Vaccines work using a counterintuitive trick. Scientists give the human body a weakened or dead version of a specific pathogen, which the body’s immune system uses as both target practice and research; your systems develops resistance techniques and learns from its battles. Then, when the virus attacks for real, your body has the skills and knowledge to fight it off.


Neat, huh? But vaccines aren’t just an interesting science experiment. They are one of public health’s most important weapons. Vaccines have eradicated many once-lethal and near-ubiquitous diseases from the modern world. Think of these diseases the next time you realize that, well, you don’t ever need to think about these diseases.


Between the late 19th century and the mid 50s, roughly 35,000 people developed polio, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Polio was a terrifying childhood disease, causing meningitis, paralysis, and even death. And it hit children. Polio was one of the America’s most serious public health crises until the advent of the vaccine in the 1950s. And this vaccine has been incredibly effective. As of this writing, not a single case of polio has been reported in the United States since 1979.


The smallpox vaccine has been called “one of the greatest achievements in human history” by medical professionals. Prior to vaccine, smallpox killed millions of people. Ancient Rome, ancient China, Africa, and Europe were all hit by the disease. Smallpox killed entire cultures when Europeans introduced it the Americas. Smallpox is a nasty disease. Sufferers develop rashes, lesions, and fevers. 30% of people infected with die, usually within the first few weeks. Or at least they to. Thanks to vaccines, this horrifying disease, which wreaked havoc on our species for nearly two thousand years, is gone. It’s simply gone. The last case of smallpox (not including one from a lab accident the following year) was reported in 1977. The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared smallpox dead in 1980. The only remaining  copies exist in a few labs for research purposes, and officials have often discussed killing even those.


Measles still exists in the world, and in 2013 killed about 16 people an hour, according to WHO. And most of its victims were not even five years old. But in most industrialized countries, people do not have to worry about measles. Prior to widespread vaccination programs that began in 1980, 2.6 million people died every year from measles. That simply is not the case any more. The measles vaccine is incredibly effective and saves countless children from a terrible disease every year. The only danger most people in the industrialized world most people face is parents who refuse to vaccinate their children, due to fear-mongering spread by anti-science conspiracy theorists.  


The Troublesome Nature of Instant Gratification

The Risks of Giving In

Today more than ever, the world is at our fingertips. A quick search on our smart phone, a quick entry of our credit card number, a drive-thru window—we can have, it seems, anything we want, and quickly. But if we considered the long-term effects of those decisions, perhaps we wouldn’t make them so haphazardly. Rarely is the deal as good as it sounds; something that gratifies us right now may have costs later on. Often, in chasing the thrill of instant gratification, we’re compelled to take a risk. When those risks don’t pay off, they can have serious consequences.

For example, imagine that after a long night at a party, a drunk guest and his friends are craving fast food, right that second. It can’t wait! They hop in the car, but on the way to the drive-thru, the driver loses control of the vehicle and kills a pedestrian. It was, of course, an accident, but that sort of accident is entirely preventable, note personal injury lawyers Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. If the driver had weighed the lifetime effects on the victim’s family against his instant need for a hamburger, he would never have gotten in the car. The truth is, it’s usually pretty hard to suppress our immediate desires, but learning to do so may not be such a bad idea.

The Benefits of Delayed Gratification

Giving into our desire for instant gratification can have long-reaching negative implications. In a famous 1970 psychology experiment, Stanford researcher Walter Mischel offered young children a single marshmallow, with the promise that if they waited a few minutes, they could have two. Most children did not hold out for the second goodie, but the ones who did were found to enjoy greater success later in life (as measured by higher SAT scores, higher college completion rates, and higher incomes). On the flip side, more recent research suggests that adults who can’t delay their gratification are more likely to have higher BMI’s and drug-addiction problems.

Luckily, the research also suggests that we can outsmart our immediate desires. A key player is attention—the less we think about the desire, the less likely we are to satisfy it immediately. So, distracting ourselves for even a few minutes (from, say, the idea of a fast-food run after a party) may help us resist. Another factor is our ability to imagine the appeal of the delayed rewards. Typically, it’s hard to wait for something that by virtue of being in the future is rather abstract, especially if the immediate reward is right within our grasp. One way to get around this tendency is to try to flip that situation: hide the immediate temptation, or pretend it’s something else, while visualizing specific details of the future reward. No one is perfect, and we are bound to give in to our desire for instant gratification once in a while. Considering the negative effects of doing so, however, we would do well to try to overcome that instinct.